Hurricane Season

288p. Algonquin. May 2019. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781616209063.
RedReviewStarGr 5–7—Eleven-year-old Fig craves normalcy. But with a hurricane approaching, both literally and figuratively, Fig will have to navigate her way to calmer waters. She lives with her father, a once-renowned pianist, who now suffers from dramatic mood swings that make it impossible for him to work or for his daughter to connect with him. Although she is more comfortable in the science arena, Fig enrolls in an art class hoping it will shed some light on the way her brilliant but troubled father's mind works. Through the class, Fig meets three people who guide her to a deeper understanding of herself: a supportive art teacher, a boy who genuinely wants to be Fig's friend, and Hannah, a high school student on whom Fig develops a crush. It is Fig's introduction to the works of Vincent van Gogh, though, that inspires her to learn more about mental illness. She and her father also have the support of their new neighbor, Mark, who becomes a steady and calming presence in both of their lives. As a hurricane approaches their New Jersey beach community, Fig begins to rely on the support of friends—and her own newfound strength—to bring music back into their lives.
VERDICT Fig's story will engage middle grade readers who enjoy thoughtful novels that address complex topics. It may even inspire them to seek out the works of van Gogh.

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